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Track(s) taken from CDA67523


First line:
Ici-bas tous les lilas meurent
1882; in collaboration with his brother Lucien; No 1 of Vingt mélodies; à Madame Vital
1882; in collaboration with his brother Paul; No 1 of Vingt mélodies; à Madame Vital
author of text
1865; Stances et poèmes
author of text
1865; Stances et poèmes

John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: August 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: June 2006
Total duration: 1 minutes 59 seconds


'A disc to treasure' (BBC Music Magazine)

'John Mark Ainsley understands the idiom of these beguiling songs and delivers them with grace, fluency and clear diction … Graham Johnson's playing is as vivid and piquant as his booklet notes. A delectable disc' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Ainsley—urbane, sexy and witty throughout—is at his absolute best' (The Guardian)

'Graham Johnson is quite literally changing the way we hear French mélodie. What a voyage to be invited to join!' (International Record Review)

'How does Graham Johnson do it? Once again, he has explored territory that few today have even considered worthy of investigation, and once again, he has come up with an extraordinary CD' (Fanfare, USA)

'One of the finest examples of Gallic song performance' (MusicWeb International)

'Comme toujours, John Mark Ainsley touche à la perfection tant par le style que pour son impeccable diction, et Graham Johnson poursuit en maître artisan son indefatigable exploration du monde du lied et de la mélodie' (Diapason, France)
The poem is from Sully Prudhomme’s collection Stances et poèmes (1865) where the title is the whole first line of the poem. This volume was also known to César Franck (La vase brisé) and Duparc (Le galop). Here are Hillemacher trademarks aplenty—a vocal line, murmured on monotones, which is a descant against a melody firmly traced in the bass line, the whole thing possessing a haunted quality, as if yearning for autrefois. Like Chanson d’un fou by Pessard, the score of this song was discovered in Russia, in Debussy’s hand, among the papers of Alexander von Meck, son of Nadezhda von Meck. In 1932 it was published by Eschig as an early Debussy song before the truth was revealed. The Hillemachers had written a waltz that would not have disgraced Tchaikovsky in its mellifluous grace; having worked for Madame von Meck in 1880 in Russia, Debussy (no Tchaikovsky admirer) would have had time to size up her musical tastes (she idolized Tchaikovsky and supported him financially). It is possible that Debussy passed off the song as his own in 1881 to ingratiate himself with his rich employer whose daughter was temporarily the object of his affections.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006
English: Richard Stokes

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